Sunday Meetings

Fun, Entertaining & Informative

 

Our monthly Sunday meetings are always popular and members almost always enjoy a guest speaker. Complimentary refreshments are served and it is a great time to mix and meet with other members.

August 2020

Guest Speaker: Ian Handricks

Topic : "A Tour of Our Website"

After the Annual General Meeting formalities, our Webmaster Ian Handricks took us on a tour of our website, www.seniornetns.com,working through the different headings, then covering some of the content shown under Keeping In Touch.  Click on Home, then Keeping In Touch to visit any of the 55 days that Ian added to the website during the earlier Covid outbreak.  Ian demonstrated the Keeping in Touch link, using Day 6, and showed us some hair-raising driving along narrow roads high up in the wilds of Browns Bay.  Only kidding, it looked a bit more like Mt Wellington. 

He also showed us the club collection of members’ baby/toddler photos. To view, click the About heading then Junior Net on the website.  If you are not on there but would like to be, then send an appropriate photo into Ian.  Come on, don’t be shy.

 

Ian pointed out that the number of hits on our site was unusually high, 23,488, for a club of our size, an indication that the site is deemed to be very useful. 

July 2020

Guest Speakers: Peter Burridge & Cherry Parker

Topics : "Fingerprint Technology" (Peter) & "Behind the Scenes on Election Day" (Cherry)

Peter Burridge was our first speaker and quickly drew us into the wonders of fingerprint technology.  Peter served in the police force including in Salisbury, Rhodesia and latterly in the Auckland fingerprint section covering the top of the North Island.  However during his tenure in the force originally as a constable and then in CID he was involved in “scene of crime” forensics all around the world.

 

He linked DNA and fingerprinting technology as complimentary which was aided by modern computing but for him in the earlier years he carried 1,024 fingerprint combinations in his head – not digitally.  There are 3 types of fingerprints: Loop – representing about 60% of the population, Whorls about 30% of the population and Arch about 10%.

 

Prints can be recorded from a porous surface such as paper or from non-porous like glass and plastic.  Documents can reveal 100 year old prints and even the tips of fingers can at times provide sufficient information as can the palm of a hand.  He emphasised that giving evidence is hard work and you really need to know your subject.

 

Peter told us that in Salisbury fingerprints were stored in huge buildings with bomb proof rooms.  In New Zealand we do not have National Registration so what is stored is because the prints belong to people who “have been in trouble”.  It is now possible to identify from a small portion of a fingerprint, you do not need 12 identifiable points.  The Commonwealth identification system is an excellent and co-operative organisation.

 

Peter concluded by saying that Technology will always change but you have to know how to use it.

 

It was also a meeting of old colleagues like Ian Robinson, Bret Bestic and Lindsay Todd – a grand morning.

Cherry Parker was our second speaker and gave us an insight into organising an election in New Zealand and her responsibilities as Returning Officer - making sure that personnel were trained, polling booths organised and everything ready to go – not by 19 September but to ensure procedures were in place for advanced voting by 5 September.

 

To give us an idea of the extent of the organising needed, there are 24 electorates from Papakura to Warkworth compared to 1 on the West Coast.  This entails employing 500 people per electorate.  The total number required for New Zealand extends to 32,000 trained people.  The 2020 election is more complex due to COVID and the extra space and precautions necessary.  Each electorate headquarters is required to have 600 square metres of floor space. Many of the smaller previously used facilities on election day such as church halls are unable to be used this time.  They were instructed to operate under Level 2 controls in case the country needs to revert Level 2 virus conditions.

 

Early in July, Cherry who is overseeing the Auckland Central area, received 14 palettes of “cardboard” furniture and a further 10 palettes were due mid-July and then closer to the date a further 3 palettes containing voting papers and registers. Training is Monday through to Saturday with two sessions per day from the beginning of September.

 

There will be 30 voting places on the North Shore and 106 in Northland alone. However advanced voting commences on 5 September with 12 places available on the North Shore.   Polling day starts at 9am with 35 staff counting the Advanced Votes at the headquarters, and those are the first progress reports that go onto our TV at 7pm.

 

At 7pm voting day the booths close and the boxes get sorted - voters often put their vote into the wrong box.  The counting is progressive with the Party votes counted first, then for the shore the Harbour votes, the East Coast votes and the Te Tai Tokerau votes.  They push “send” and again it immediately on our home TV.

 

Sunday they work from 8am to 4pm as all boxes are packed up in a special way for sending back to HQ, every Roll (list of registered voters) has to be de-spined and every page scanned to the Registrar of Electors.  Monday they begin to count the votes again.

 

Dealing with Special Votes is a very long process and takes about 10 days.  Referenda votes will not be counted on the night and it will be about one week before results are known.

 

Each electorate will handle 35,000 to 45,000 votes, not allowing for the people who vote twice (and up to thirteen times) but beware those people will be found and will be prosecuted.  Last election in her electorate there were 8 people who multi voted – all were traced as when they scan the roll pages it throws up the dual votes.  A team of people can take 5 – 6 hours to trace the multiple voter – then none of their votes stand.  Should you die between casting your vote and election day, your vote is not counted!  So take care. 

 

Recounts:  Not a popular mission.  They are done in total silence, a lawyer cannot touch any papers but can ask questions, a Judge sits in and if the “recording” is at all contentious the judge decides the outcome.  There is very tight security during a recount and if anyone needs to use the bathroom they are accompanied by a Returning Officer.  The entire election process is law driven and Officers are provided with a thick manual on procedures. 

 

So unlike the 1984 snap election they have had time to train and organise but it has been more complex and some criteria changed due to the virus.  Our thanks to Cherry for a fascinating insight into the workings of an election – makes our effort of turning up and ticking a few boxes an anti-climax in comparison.

March 2020

Guest Speakers: Cherry Parker & Bret Bestic

Topics : "To My Darling Wife - a New Zealander's front line letters from the Italian Campaign 1943-1945" (Cherry) & "Perspectives of War" (Bret)

 

Cherry Parker told us of her Great Uncle Henry and finding his letters home to his wife. She writes: 70 years after they were written during the Italian Campaign, the letters sent home to my great aunt in NZ were found in an old Gladstone bag - all in their original envelopes, tied up with string and numbered as they were received between May 1943 and Dec 1945 — all 376 of them. Every single letter began: "To My Darling Wife" and ends "Your loving husband, Henry" Cherry read them all, transcribed and turned them into a book.

Excerpts below:

  • Dec 1943: I did not have to dig this hole where I sleep now. Jerry had dug it so I just built my home over it. There are miles of bamboo in this country and hay stacks everywhere. I have put some bamboo round the sides of it and about a foot in the bottom. Then I dug a trench around the outside to keep the mud and water out. I am OK but this is a hard school for chaps who are not useful with their hands. It is much warmer down in a hole like this. The weather is cold and terrible. Going out today it started to snow. Perhaps this sea of mud will freeze then we will be able to walk over it instead of through it.

  • 26 March 1944: As you realise we can't go at it day and night, so I have started a little job. I picked up a piece of metal from an aeroplane and I have got busy on it, spending every spare moment I have. My workshop is down a hole in my bivvy and my tools pen knife, files and odds and ends such as old razor blades for scrapers etc. I started off with a true model to measurement of a spitfire and I will mount it when it is finished on a stand. It is small about 4" long. This one will be made right up in the front line.

  • 8th September 1944: Air Letter peanut brownie biscuits — I received a parcel from you today posted late April. No wonder I thought it had gone. It was the 3 tins of biscuits. You made a great job of packing them in those tins, not one was broken not even the peanut brownies. What surprised me was how crisp they are. Thanks a lot Pet.

  • 7th September 1945: I received parcel No 41 from you today Pet. The homemade pickles will be a luxury. Some of the boys came to see what was in it. They were taken by the way you pack my parcels.

There is so much more in this story. The base for the airplane was made from wood from an olive tree which had been blown up, as was the lid of the trinket box. The bracelet metal from an enemy plane. 

Bret Bestic (Brigadier) was our speaker after our morning tea break and Bret's "Perspectives of War" took us down a totally different aspect of campaigning, with some very astute thinking on achieving the best outcomes. High on the list was Logistics which were vital in keeping the morale of the troops in good shape. This included making easier the to and fro of letters and parcels from family to the fighting force. He talked of the necessity to break down a problem, to find a solution, the vital aspect of lateral thinking and that "there are no rules until you get to the end". He clarified the meaning of "Active Service" which literally gave the troops a licence to kill. Bret has had an amazing and varied life including the task of reviewing the procedures at the Paremoremo Facility due to his ability to plan and organise — I suggest you click on the link below and read of his "exploits" (and view his medals) — he seems to have fitted several lifetimes into one and still leads something of a nomadic life with as he said, very few possessions, as he travels so much — although he does own two barges one in Amsterdam to which he is returning shortly. He was very well equipped to talk to us about Logistics and Roger is hopeful of getting Bret back for a further Sunday to talk of some of his "escapades". Our good member Brian Cudby — also ex-Army has been an associate and friend of Bret for many years so they had lots to discuss.

https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/features/bestic

February 2020

Guest Speakers: Hilary Arrowsmith & Jane Brodie

Topic : "The Treasures Inside Your Library Card: eResources For You On The Move"

Hilary Arrowsmith and Jane Brodie from Auckland Libraries enlightened us with e options provided Libraries. They took us through the many choices available online — with the saying we have "A Library in every pocket”. Below is a list of the various e resources some of which are available through the website and some via an app. Many of us love to have a "book book° as Hilary described hard copy books but the emergence of eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers eAudio etc allows us so much more flexibility. A great asset to travellers too. Libraries are equipped to assist with Genealogy research and have a huge number of digital Heritage images. Search under eCollections to get started.

  • Our catalogue can also be accessed on its own mobile app. To order a book, go to the catalogue and enter the title, tap Request and have your library card and PIN ready. Your device will also remember your barcode and PIN.

  • The best way to access and read eBooks and eAudiobooks is to download and read the books in apps (Libby and/or Borrowbox) available from the App Store or Playstore. You need to register within the app with your name, email, barcode etc. These apps are good because you can listen to or read everything offline — when you are travelling. If you don't want to use Apps or a mobile device, you can read or listen online in your browser on your PC by going through the website.

  • To read an eMagazine, access is possible via our website: click eCollections/ Magazines or by downloading an app called R8 Digital in order to read offline. This gives you access to more than 600 international magazines. There is no limit to the number you can have, nor any set day to return. Have your email address ready and remember your Library is Auckland Libraries— not your branch library!

  • To read a newspaper online, go to the Library website, click eCollections/ Newspapers. This online access allows you to read 2400 newspapers, from 100 countries in 56 languages. You can also access over 3000 local and international magazines to read as well. There is a mobile app you can use to download the magazines with a 30 day Library wifi permit. It's easier to use the online version via our website.

  • To use Lynda.com — as above and enter the term "Lynda.com". These are online tutorials on computer, business and digital subjects. There are very good tutorials to help you learn more about your PC, iPad, iPhone and android phones.

  •  To use the Family History and heritage sites, go to the website and enter the words Family History. Five options appear. A limited form of Ancestry.com is available from within a Public Library. Remember that Auckland Libraries has a Family History Department with which you can make an appointment to gain expertise with your family research. Ring 09 3770209

  • Kura is Auckland Libraries' online Heritage collection of photographs, maps, manuscripts and local history. Look on the website.

  • Searching a subject is now much easier with Article Search in the catalogue. Simply enter the subject you are looking for and then tap the "Articles" button instead of the catalogue button.

  • For those who belong to groups such as U3A, the Auckland Libraries website subscribes to MANY databases which provide up to date information on people, science, art, history and topical subjects.

  • Video Streaming of Documentaries, instructional videos, classic movies and kids' movies is available via the Beamafilm app and OverDrive App. lf you don't have a tablet, just watch in your desktop browser.

January 2020 - Part 1

Guest Speakers: Julia Parfitt & Alexis Poppelbaum

Topic : "Local Government - How we work and what we do"

East Coast Bays Board Members Julia Parfitt and Alexis Poppelbaum attended our January Sunday meeting and we had the benefit of Julia and Alexis discussing with us how Local Government works — or at times doesn't work. Our long time Shore representative Julia, took us through the nuances of the amalgamation of our North Shore City with Auckland City and the differences in regional aspects such as libraries (North Shore opened 7 days a week but some boroughs did not open at the weekends) and resulting outcomes and Alexis spoke about her first term as an elected representative and what she hoped to achieve during her tenure. Oh what a "tangled web" it can be. Long story short, they encouraged us to get involved if we are unhappy about the decline in some services since the amalgamation, such as the state of berms, the quality of the water at our beaches and lack of signage when they became unsafe. They encouraged the use of the Hotline for complaints and impressed upon us to always get a case number — in case a follow up is necessary. Action should be acknowledged within 5 — 10 working days or in the case of health aspects such as sewage then "a few hours" is the criterion. This facility is also available online. See below for details.

Their stated goals were to:

  • Improve the consent processes in particular for housing and deal more effectively with situations where rules are breached.

  • Tighten up on the Unitary Plan which is currently lacking in clarity.

  • Improve need for accountability by elected members.

  • Localism — people should have more control over what happens in their local area.

  • Improve information regarding candidates to encourage more interest in voting.

  • Improve the voting system and not have two forms of voting in the one election, as happened in 2019.

Auckland Council have set up a new online tool so you can now report problems via their website. Once you've reported a problem (e.g. maintenance request) you can track and trace the request for real-time progress updates using the reference number provided. https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/report-problem/Pages/default.aspx 

January 2020 - Part 2

Guest Speaker: Margaret Scrymgeour

Topic : "Don't Judge a Book By its Cover "

Margaret Scrymgeour was our speaker after morning tea with the intriguing title "Don't Judge a Book By its Cover …... See a Man by his Cloth, as there is often a good deal of solid worth and superior skill underneath a jacket and yaller pants". [from Piqua Democrat Newspaper, June 1867]. The content proved to be enlightening and surprising. In fact, quite astonishing. We possibly all knew that 2 or 3 different covers could exist for the same story but did we know that one classic publication, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, appears to hold the record with more than 300 different book covers? There are some archetype covers so if we see the silhouette of an athletic man, walking alone down a long road we tend to think it is a story about Jack Reacher or a similar maverick man. However, Margaret proved to us that the front cover image could be very deceptive — to the point of ridiculous with some great examples that would totally give you the wrong impression of the content. Different images are used for appeal in different countries — the latest Tarzan edition Margaret described as "crass" — not at all what Edgar Rice Burroughs and Johnny Weissmuller would have sought to enthrall children.

This was a brilliant concept and entertaining session and thanks to researchers Margaret Scrymgeour and Patricia Smith.

December 2019

Guest Speakers: Various

Topic : "Christmas Meeting"

Bernice set us off on a Christmassy note with some fun Jib Jabs, a ProShow Gold presentation of the antics of those who attended Valentines and a showing of how she combines Photobook creation with Genealogy.

This was followed by designs for cards, posters, book covers and suchlike created in Canva and taught by Cherry Parker. Cherry passed judgement on the efforts of our members and donated two of her own books and some goodies to the runner up Carol Wainhouse and the winner Shirley Hansen.

Ian Handricks introduced items to keep both our grandchildren and ourselves busy and out of mischief over the holiday break —go to our website and on the home page right hand side near the bottom you will see a green panel "Holiday Activities" from there the grey panels are links for your computer and the turquoise panels are links for your iPad etc. At 11am we stopped for a delicious morning tea.

Shirley Hansen organised the food and niceties for morning tea and with help from several members set up the food and drink at the back of the hall. Thanks also to the members who brought food for our Christmas celebration — the clean-up and dishes were left until after the meeting concluded so Shirley's team did not miss the items.

After morning tea Glen Plaistowe took us down memory lane with Do You Remember 1950? — followed by a presentation of photographs taken by members throughout the year and compiled into a showing by Rex Oddy.

November 2019

Guest Speaker: Tom Spratt

Topic : "World of Technology in the Galleries and Exhibitions at the Museum"

Our Sunday Speaker in November was Tom Spratt from our own Auckland Museum. Tom opened up the World of Technology in the Galleries and Exhibitions at the Museum for us.

He introduced us to a Boop Box which they are trialing. Amazingly he placed a combination of a wood funnel lashed to a conch shell and when placed on the Box it gave the sounds a conch shell can make and a spoken commentary about the shells. Likewise when placing a model boat on the Box it created the noise you would experience from a ship moving in water. Information about an item is loaded onto a "tag" and the Box converts the information into audio. Technology is an integral part of the museum experience • Share Knowledge • Personalisation • Interactivity • Rich Content • Digitize our collections • High quality public interface • Connect people through all channels. They reach the public with the use of Pop Up Museums around Auckland which have worked well. He also spoke about the need for Security of the collections against Theft and Damage and of course Conservation. They have a team of 8 conservators who monitor the environment in which the objects are either displayed or stored. Only 10% of objects are on display and these are in many instances rotated. The items need protection from the Environment for: • Humidity • Pests • Light • Temperature • Vibration • Dust • Air Movement.The Digital Laboratory has 4 full time photographers who add thousands of HD images every month, including multiple images for each object. For high depth of field magnification, they take multiple photographs and multilayer them to achieve a crisp clear final image. The extensive Online Cenotaph has a person search and many of the galleries have touch screen accessibility and interactive platforms. In addition, the Heritage Services area includes extensive family history records with new content being added constantly - such as: • Published family histories • Family Records/stories • School Records • Census summaries • Baptismal registers • Articles of Reminiscences • Cinematic archive • Pharmacy records • Legal Deeds (approx 10,000). A very enlightening morning.

October 2019

Guest Speaker: Megan Brice

Topic : "How to Leave a Legacy by being a Great Coach"

Megan Brice of Integrity Solutions proved to us that it doesn't matter what age you are the skills of being a great coach are invaluable in our everyday lives and particularly in relation to family/grandkids.

Megan provided us with Behaviour Charts which we individually completed to recognise what category we fitted into i.e. Talker, Doer, Controller or Supporter as our strongest characteristic and at what point we "fringed" into another sector. Some of us were a little surprised!

Understanding the way we "function" enables us to recognise what motivates others and how we can better relate to people and so assist with encouraging them to achieve. Megan emphasised the importance of mind-set and how this at times needs changing to enable development of self-worth and expansion of our belief system as our inner beliefs control all outcomes.

To portray the Coaching Process she illustrated with diagrams the five steps of the process:

Ask - Listen - Coach - Praise - Challenge

So prepare by Asking Questions, Listen without distraction, Coach by discovering constraints and gaining agreement, Praise with sincerity and expressing potential you see and Challenge with specific goals with time frames and follow up (I look forward to hearing how you get on).

We heard from 5 or 6 members who had experienced watershed moments in their careers and from some who had through work related or life coaching undergone a related process. Brian Cudby acknowledged that throughout his career with the NZ Army he had used methods of this type.

There was so much more to the morning but seemingly all of our members bought into the philosophy — enjoyed finding out "what sort of person we emulate" and were duly intrigued with the findings.

We did stop for a grand morning tea — thanks to members who brought along food — it was so good we did not need the chocolate bikkies this month.

September 2019

Guest Speaker: Matt Chamberlain

Topics : Cybersecurity

What we need to know — please do not take the issue lightly.

Matt Chamberlain from Tech Solutions at Noel Leeming provided us with very good advice and information on Cybersecurity and introduced us to their Home Security systems which can provide 'real time’ information or can record activity at your property. They have a natty little alarm doorbell with a camera and an app which shows on your phone ‘live’ what is happening. He spent some time discussing internet safety and the importance of good passwords emphasising we should use a mix of upper and lowercase. symbols and numbers and certainly more than 6 characters which can stop what he caked a Blunt Force approach by scammers. He advised don't use your date of birth and do not use the same password for everything. He was not averse to using a simpler password for relatively unimportant connections. He also advised that changing passwords six monthly was a good security habit. During discussion on security programmes he confirmed that Windows 10 has a built-in system called Defender and Apple also have an internal option, but you do have to activate it. When it came to scam emails he recommended if in doubt look for spelling and grammar errors and certainly look at the email address as that will often be a giveaway. There are various types of threats and a full explanation can be found on government sites:

  • Spam: refers to emails, SMS texts or faxes from an individual or a company that you didn't ask to receive. i.e. Junk mail advertising products or services you don't want.

  • Ransomware: A type of malicious software that denies a user access to their files or computer system unless they pay a ransom.

  • Scams and Fraud: Online scams are intended to manipulate or trick people into giving away their personal details, financial details or money.

  • Phishing: A type of email scam. The sender pretends to be a trustworthy organisation —like a bank or government agency in an attempt to get you to provide them with personal information such as bank account details.

  • Denial of Service: These attacks am to restrict or impair access to a computer system. They typically target servers to make websites and payment services unavailable — preventing legitimate users from accessing the online services they need.

  • Online Identity Theft: Using personal information from another person and using it for their own gain.

  • Malware: Any kind of malicious software designed to damage or harm a computer system.

  • Cyber Bullying: Relates to any kind of harassment or abuse that is carried out online through social media, email or a website.

  • Credential Dumps: When a list of email addresses and other information (like passwords) is published online without permission. Can be exploited by spammers and cybercriminals. It is so important to use the ‘BCC’ option when emailing groups of people in particular.

There are a number of websites where you can check if something is a cyber security threat or report an issue. [See SeniornetNS Newsletter October 2019 - Sunday Meeting) for more details].

August 2019

Guest Speakers: Several

Topics : AGM

After the official sector of the morning we had some special items from members:

Glen Plaistowe "looked" at 1947 and occurrences during that year, Bernice Hyde explained the extensive uses possible with Photobooks, Campbell Stanford illustrated his family connection with Macedonia with some unusual display items from the war era and Peter Patten finished the morning with a collection of very good photos he took at the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Bernice Hyde has been an extremely active and enthusiastic member of SeniorNet North Shore since 2009 and from the beginning has been prepared to assist in numerous areas of activity. Bernice has tutored in Genealogy, Family Tree Maker, Photobooks, iPad (particularly at the beginning), and has assisted in ProShow Gold. She has been a back-up to Allan White in the technology aspect and is always helpful on "what to plug in and where". Bernice is deserving of being made a Life Member of our club and at our AGM was duly voted to receive this award and was presented with her distinctive badge.

Interspersed was a wonderful morning tea so thanks to Shirley Hansen and her team. Shirley has mastered the workings of the oven in the St John kitchen and we had hot savouries, egg sandwiches, ham sandwiches, asparagus rolls, cheese puffs, strawberries with dipping chocolate and cake of various types - enough to thrill even a 6 year old at a party. Thanks to the members who brought along food and helped make the morning so successful.

July 2019

Guest Speaker: John Hartley

Topics : Laughing Policeman (Back by Popular Demand!)

Once again, we were treated to a talk from John Hartley or the Laughing Policeman only this time for the whole session. As formerly, there was lots of laughter throughout and amazingly all the anecdotes were completely new to the last session he gave us. He regaled us with pranks his senior officers played on him as a recruit, the three main types of drunkenness he had to deal with, all with actions to make them even more hilarious. Interestingly in England policing, each district is funded by locals and in John's time of service all the uniforms and hats for each district had differences as well. He discussed the pros and cons of his training and there was plenty of time for questions and comments throughout. Of course, also there was the mispronunciation of some of our Maori words which was a real hoot, and the time he spent in the motorcycle part of the police force. Even a New Zealand Police tale to boot. We finished on a sober note with the answer to a query about burglary where he gave us hints on ways to discourage a burglar of course with actions to accent his suggestions, We got a few funny shots for the newsletter for Roger. A really entertaining session.

June 2019

Guest Speaker: Ian Handricks

Topics : The Evolution of Music and Computers

Ian Handricks, in his usual creative and informative style, provided a background history of music created on and for computers, how technology has altered the way we procure and hear our music, when digital music was first created and how it has forever changed the commercial landscape for musicians. He discussed how YouTube can be used as an entertainment centre and introduced some ways we can make our own music, using computers and ipads/tablets. Did you know that Sony produced the first tape recorder in 1946 at a then cost of $525 — about $7,000 today? Finally he demonstrated how we can find and enjoy our own style of music - at no cost. A really good morning.

May 2019

Guest Speakers: Frank Graveson & Gaye Stratton

Topics : Dogs in the Ross Dependency & Macular Degeneration

Frank Graveson

The Antarctic continent is larger than Australia and is divided into about eleven Dependencies with New Zealand being responsible for the Ross area. Frank took us through the landings from 1895 right up until his own voyage south and their work on the ice. The main theme was the part that the dogs played in each expedition and we had a wonderful insight into their behaviour and the contribution they made. They were loosely called Huskies but in fact derived from a number of breeds but the 1895 excursion took 75 dogs which were Western Siberian, plus 28 tons of Spratt's Dog biscuits - made in England. Frank was involved due to his Engineering ability and we were treated to an amazing hour of stories and visuals.

Gaye Stratton from Macular Degeneration New Zealand warned us that 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 and 1 in 4 over the age of 80 will get Macular Degeneration. Gaye urged us to have our eyes tested and to make sure the optometrist does actually test for MD, as while many do test, not all do. The big message was ask. The two main risk factors were smoking or through inheritance, however diet could play a big part (particularly lack of leafy greens), but exposure to UV light, or if you have light skin and blue, grey or green eyes you were more vulnerable. The other big message was that if it is caught early enough a lot can be done to control and even improve your eye health. People with age-related MD should be immediately referred to an Ophthalmologist if they have sudden onset distortion or loss of vision. With MD you do not lose your peripheral vision — it blurs in the center and so can result in reading difficulties and loss of your driving licence. There are some supplements that can help such as Blackmores Macu-Vision and Lutein Defence. Do take it seriously — there is a lot at stake. Again the intemet will provide you with additional information so go to their official website: www.mdnz.org.nz 

April 2019

Guest Speaker: Sachin Arulambalam

Topic : Virtual Reality

Travel extensively for less than one month's power bill! It's true. Sachin Arulambalam of Origin VR spoke of the delights and benefits of Virtual Reality. VR is now being used in all types of leisure and industry using pre-programmed software. It is used for training purposes in: • Retail: product information and customer service. Shop using VR and have your selection delivered. • Surgery training: Otago University currently considering installing • Rehabilitation: after a stroke or procedure • Engineering: design a format and test rather than building an actual model • Architecture: create virtual models, time and cost effective • Entertainment: Sport, music, shows, birthday parties, particularly gaming • Teaching: Schools, Museums • Law Enforcement: Army, Police (NYPD use 100 different scenarios to emulate a situation for training purposes. Provides feedback on good and bad responses and for the military, ammunition is not needed, so safer and cheaper.) • Travel: visit the Grand Canyon (but be careful that you don't fall over the edge.) • Treat Phobias: Fear of Spiders, Birds, etc • Marketing: Eye Track — don a headset and it will monitor what part of the product you view the longest. • E Sports: Playing a game when you are not playing a game.

March 2019

Guest Speaker: Phillipa Bans

Topic : Never2old

Our Sunday Speaker, Phillipa Bans, was well equipped to speak on health with 25 years as a practical registered nurse, degrees in Sport and Recreation and a Diploma in Health Science and currently Operations Manager at Never2old at AUT.

Never2old is a multi-faceted programme targeting NZ Seniors to assist with strength and balance, social connections, education, adventure and challenge and overall wellbeing.

Wellbeing is defined as "the balance point between an individual's resource pool and the challenges faced consisting of a sense of vitality (get up and go), a positive approach, ability to bounce back, a sense of direction, choosing activities that provide fulfillment and independence, good social connections and the ability to take notice of the world around them and embrace new experiences and opportunities to learn".

Emotional: Feelings of satisfaction, optimism, mastery and being in control, a sense of belonging, a positive and realistic view of self and circumstances, being connected and able to manage one's emotional state.

Social: Loneliness and social isolation can lead to an increased risk to health and decline in daily activities. Happy people live longer.

Intellectual: Engage in mentally stimulating and creative activities, expanding knowledge, learning and discovering and sharing this knowledge. While normal ageing can lead to a slowing of mental processing, actual dementia is statistically relatively uncommon overall.

Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This is now a proven fact.

Spiritual: Means different things to different people. It could be a walk in the park, it could be prayer or meditation. It may be assessing your values in life or examining and accepting other viewpoints.

Physical: Determined by choices we make including physical activity, nutrition, sleep, harmful habits.

The Ideal Formula: • Regular physical activity • Eating regularly • Choosing mostly fresh, unprocessed food • Keeping alcohol intake to a minimum • Avoiding drug use • Get at least 6— 8 hours of sleep a night.

February 2019

Guest Speakers: Lukas Svoboda & Ian Handricks

Topic : Internet Shopping & Cloud Storage

Lukas Svoboda

In recent years we have been told that "bricks and mortar" shopping is out and internet shopping is in. Well, the world of IT has come to its senses and is giving us the best of both worlds. Our first speaker, Lukas Svoboda, the IT expert for New Zealand owned company Mitre 10, outlined the advances under way. Lukas took us through the current developments in retail shopping and how they are meshing the attributes of personal and online purchasing. Emerging trends were: • Beacons — how your online searches trigger the display of related products. • Face Recognition — will eventuate — works on 16,000 points of reference on your face. (I didn't know my face was that big!) • Robotic Assistance — a little personal robot you can instruct to take you to what you want • Smart mirrors — "try on° a new garment without getting undressed and change the style, colour or size just with a gesture which will superimpose a garment over your own outfit. • Auto checkouts — later on these will trigger charging without the need to go through a checkout of any sort — no queues no delays. • Order online and pick up on the way home. • If you opt into the store"s app, it will guide you to what might interest you. Services — apart from supplying products they will send someone to help you install, build etc. You will be able to indulge in virtual reality from home with voice interaction and have a drone drop off your purchases. You won't get as much exercise but every "assistant" will be an expert. And - in time - they are talking that you will be able to touch, feel and perhaps even smell the products online.

Ian Handricks was our second speaker and as always gave a clear and logical illustration of firstly The Cloud and Cloud Storage options, plus some hints and tips. He emphasised that The Cloud is simply a storage system as are flash drives, CD's, DVD's and back up Hard Drives (or indeed shoe boxes) — they are places to store your items, be that documents or your photographs and videos. Effectively you are "uploading" your items into a storage facility which you can then "download" if you need to. This does not remove them from your computer. It is making a copy. There are numerous cloud storage companies most of whom offer a degree of free access i.e. 5GB or 10GB and any amount in excess, they offer to store at a charge. Ian did however recommend that, if you need to add your email address to a website, that you photograph your address and insert, rather than "tap in", which can be traced.

January 2019

Guest Speakers: John Hartley & Andy Young

Topic : NZ Police

John Hartley—known as The Laughing Policeman — well in this instance it wasn't John that was laughing it was his audience of 50 odd. They say laughing is a good tonic — well we all had a major dose of laughing tonic on Sunday. John was born in Yorkshire and joined the police and stayed on for 30 years. When he graduated he was the smallest of the group as most were ex miners or sons of and in the major league in height and size. On a trip to New Zealand with his wife and 3 children some years ago, with 12 pieces of luggage (8 for his wife) they decided that New Zealand was where they wanted to live. After some delays he was accepted into the NZ Police Force and sent to Wellington for 6 months to train and learn how to deal with "troublesome" people —having just spent 30 years dealing with some of the roughest and toughest imaginable. But that was okay. We were introduced to the uses of the wooden baton and the policeman's whistle and why the chain on the whistle was so long! He remained a constable, walking, driving, dealing with 111 calls, undercover drug work, "lots of traumatic and horrible things but nice stuff too". He loved the front line and used humour to deal with and diffuse situations. We had some wonderful stories from him including his pronunciation of Pukekohe where he was stationed. If you missed his stories you missed a treat—you also missed his dress ups with uniforms that still fit him and helmets and handcuffs. We already have requests for a return visit.

Community Constable Andy Young talked of his job of making safer communities, engendering trust and focussing on victims. He warned us of the need to be alert particularly in car parks and certainly in hospital car parks where people often have their minds on more serious matters. While the usual alcohol, drugs, driving and organised crime are the major issues the North Shore has a lot of petty crime and car crime is high. Constable Andy confirmed that there are more and more cameras installed which are helpful after the fact but the NZ Police are manning more cameras which help in handling and controlling situations. In the UK CCTV cameras are monitored live. Young people are still making bad decisions and he is part of the Blue Light team who now largely concentrate on camps for the young. The internet is like the Wild West so there is a need to be careful at all times. Contact Neighbourhood Support they will help with advice. However Neighbourly needs to be used with caution. Don't tell Neighbourly, for example, that you are going on holiday. Timely reminder to record serial numbers — use smart phone to photograph but store details offsite or elsewhere. He was asked about drones but reported little trouble — most of the North Shore is a "no fly" zone due to hospitals and flight paths

December 2018

Guest Appearances (as below)

Topic : Christmas Meeting

Our Sunday Christmas meeting was well attended as around 70 members enjoyed some great entertainment provided by talented  SeniorNetters such as Campbell Stanford showing the potential of making a website, Glen Plaistowe and her moving tribute to Vincent van Gogh, a stirring rendition of Silent Night sung in German by Jurgen Schubert and Peter Patten and a visual display from the Photography Group tutored by Rex Oddy. Once again Bernice Hyde entertained with photos from the Christmas lunch and her funny Jib abs - poking a little fun at the committee. The morning finished with our own Dorothy Waddel who brought her full size keyboard down from Orewa and accompanied some beautiful singing by her friend Jan-Maree and her daughter Chloe - with members joining in at times and sounding wonderful. Finally thanks to our MC none other than Newsletter Editor, saxophonist and multi-tasking and talented Roger Willoughby who kept things moving along with enthusiasm.

November 2018

Guest Speakers: Ian Handricks and Anna & Susie

Topic : "Ask Mr Google" & "Improving Posture"

Ian Handricks

The last minute unavailability of our first advertised speaker saw our own Ian Handricks kindly step in as our first speaker at our Sunday Meeting. His topic was ASK MR GOOGLE. We learned that Google was a misspelling of Googal. Wikipedia defines Googal as the “large number 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros in decimal representation. For us it means that through Google we have seemingly unlimited access to information and images. The success of searching is asking the right questions and in particular the use of the 5W's plus H. What, Who, Why, Where, When and How. Be specific and inventive in how you frame your questions for the best results. Everything available on Google is downloaded onto their massive servers and stored. Currently they are experiencing around one billion searches a day. Their first server was built out of Lego and old fridges. Enough to make your eyes goggle or google.

Anna & Susie

Our second session involved the owners of Suna Pilates in Takapuna, Anna and Susie. Their topic was Improving Posture, and Susie took us through a series of easy (?) exercises to point out how important good posture is and how to achieve it. Because pilates is so effective at building your body's core strength through balancing, stretching and correct breathing, it is popular with many doctors who recommend pilates to clients who are middle aged (or more). 10 reasons Pilates is ideal for older people:

  1. Zero impact, easy on joints.

  2. More oxygen in your bloodstream.

  3. Better flexibility.

  4. Improve alignment and balance.

  5. Support healthier sleeping patterns.

  6. Reduce the chance of falls.

  7. Less joint stiffness.

  8. Whole body exercise for balance.

  9. Lightweight - but not 'easy!

  10. Minimise the impact of illness.

October 2018

Guest Speakers: Dr Mels Barton & Daniel Newcombe

Topics : Kauri Dieback & Strategic Protects for Auckland Transport

Dr Mels Barton

This was a spirited and passionate talk by Dr Barton who is absolutely committed to finding a solution to kauri dieback although there is no cure in sight at present. In 2006, kauri were observed to be dying in the Waitakere Ranges, and an investigation commenced. As a result a new unidentified species was discovered. This was formally named in 2015 as Phytophthora agathidicida. The mould affect Kauri by damaging the root system, reducing the tree's ability to mike water and nutrient from the soil and transport it throughout the plant. Initial signs of infection can be yellowing of the leaves, eventually branches starve and die before the whole tree succumbs. Tracking the spread, it became obvious that “people” are moving the disease which is why it is so important to close off kauri areas to stop the spread as cleaning stations have limited effect as the tiniest spore can germinate. We asked Dr Barton what we on do and her emphasis was on educating our family and friends about the potential disaster we are facing.

Daniel Newcombe

Our second speaker was Daniel Newcombe, Manager of Strategic Protects for Auckland Transport. Housing is currently mostly extending North and South with some in the North West. There is a need to get “jobs” into the new areas otherwise roads will become more and more blocked. Daniel cited the instance of the housing growth in the Warkworth area as an example of houses without jobs requiring long distance travel for workers. While some feel disadvantaged with the new North Shore bus system he believed many had a better experience with vastly improved waiting times. He told us that they are trialing two electric buses already and once they have decided on the type they plan to be converted to all electric by 2025. There was concern about cycle ways diminishing the road system but he was convinced that these were part of the future of transport and it was obvious that they were continuing with these cycle lanes, regardless. He reported that usage into the city had increased by 35% but did not give us the details of actual numbers.

September 2018

Guest Speaker: David Verran

Topic : North Shore Ferries

 

A full house was in attendance to greet our speaker, North Shore historian, David Verran. David talked about the people that influenced the development of the North Shore and how the introduction of an efficient ferry service connecting with Auckland Central was the prime mover in opening up the area, long before the harbour bridge.

Ewan William Alison introduced the first reliable steam ferry. He went on to develop numerous business interests including a steam tram for further forays north to Takapuna and Birkenhead. 

Thomas Poynton, initially transported to Australia for political transgression, moved to Takapuna in the 1840's. He owned 67 acres and ran sheep, grew wheat and oats and was involved in local government.

Edwin Harrow went from England to Natal and with success in diamond mining achieved riches which he brought to New Zealand.

William Henry Shakespear (no 'e') bought 6 acres on what was later called Shakespeare Road. He and his wife owned a needlework and fancy goods shop in the city.

Carl Franz (Frank) Fischer lived where the quarry is. He had a very strange and interesting history. 

August 2018

Guest Speakers: Ian Handricks

Topic : A journey through the development of computers

 

Sunday 12 August was our AGM and we had a good turnout to hear all the fascinating details of our accounts plus the events of the year and of course our annual executive elections. Our Chairperson, Barbara Anderson, gave her report on club operations during the year and duly thanked the Committee, the Tutors and Helpers and of course our Auditor for the enormous amount of work they had covered during the year.

After the tea break our own Ian Handricks took us on a journey through the development of computers from day one, bringing to light some unknown and some long forgotten facts and features about the evolving technology. Ian also explained his own involvement in the very early stages of hardware (he began programming 51 years ago in 1967) and software including his work in 1981 on developing intraoccular lens design and manufacture using computer aided design (CAD) on the first IBM PC computer. Oh the things we did not know including the role that the first mouse (yes it was made of a wooden block and it was left-handed) played in the development of the technology. The presentation included loads of photos that brought back memories of bulky old monitors, floppy discs – oh how we have advanced and where to next!

July 2018

Guest Speakers: Jennifer Venimore & Brian Cudby

Topic : ACC Injury Prevention & Army Service in Malaya

 

Our Speakers then took over. First Jennifer Venimore, Senior Injury Prevention Specialist for ACC. Jennifer pointed out that current data shows us that each year, one in three people aged 65 or over will have a fall, but falling over isn’t necessarily part of the ageing process. Many falls are preventable and the organisation www.livestronger.org.nz offers advice including a home safety checklist.


Three booklets were made available to the meeting attendees from the Live Stronger For Longer organisation, “Love Your Hips”, “Home Safety Checklist” and “Love Your Independence”. Some of these were left with us and will be available to any member who wishes to collect one.
Kerri Moran, Community Health and Balance Manager for North Harbour Sport, then continued and advised us to add exercise to our daily lives with the slogan “It’s Never Too Late to Start”. Kerri told us of Community Group Strength and Balance Classes. The classes approved by Live Stronger for
Longer are shown on their website

After morning tea we were given an interesting talk by our own Tutor Brian Cudby. The topic was Brian’s experiences of his army service in Malaya, as it was then called (now Malaysia) during the Malaya emergency in 1958, and later of his service in Vietnam. Brian started young in the NZ Army aged 17. He was with the 2nd NZ Regiment in Malaya in 1958 and in Vietnam 1968-69.

June 2018

Guest Speakers: Sylvia Durrant, QSM & Brian Wintle

Topic : Bird Rescues & Bhutan

 

Bird Lady Sylvia Durrant, QSM, held our attention throughout her talk, amusing us with stories of bird rescues and showing us some real live birds. Sylvia brought along two Tuis, two Penguins and a Kingfisher and her dog helper Missie, a Border Collie, Huntaway cross. One of the Tuis had lost the use of its legs. Sylvia assured us she could fix it and had it tied up in a sling so that it was upright but its feet did not touch the floor. I have seen it since the talk and it is getting better.

After morning tea Brian Wintle then took us on a visit to Bhutan where he has recently been. Paro is one of the most difficult airports to land a large jet. Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas has a population of 750,000, ¾ of whom are Buddhist.

May 2018

Guest Speakers: Greg & Kathryn Trounson

Topic : Why I drive an Electric Car

 

Kathryn Trounson and her Husband Greg from The Better NZ Trust – Leading the Charge (sic electric car batteries!) spoke about “Why I drive an Electric Car”. Kathryn is a trustee of Leading the Charge which was established in January 2015. The Trust has a vision to create environmental, financial and health benefits for all New Zealanders through education, and assisting in the adoption of zero carbon renewable energy technologies.


Kathryn is also Chairperson of Better NZ Trust and arrived in an all Electric Vehicle which we inspected at morning tea. Fortunately the sun shone briefly allowing us to all emerge and inspect. Our singing member Ora Lefebvre took one look under the bonnet and broke out into the song “Is That All There is!”

 

Petrol, currently priced at around $2.08 per litre, is due to have extra taxes applied of possibly .22c per litre. Electric cars of course don’t run on petrol. And look at this: Dyson release plans to make an electric vehicle. Sir James Dyson, creator of the well-known Dyson vacuum cleaner, has indicated that Dyson will be branching out into creating a ‘radical’ electric vehicle with a potential launch date of 2021.
With the added benefit of creating thousands of jobs, a significant amount of money will be invested. Sir James said he was spending $1.9 billion developing new battery technology, $1.9 billion on the hi-tech car itself, and $934 million on associated technology, including autonomous and 'robotic' equipment for cars. Apparently the government have committed to no road user charges until 2020.

April 2018

Guest Speaker: Ian Handricks for Stef Billing

Topic : The Wahine Disaster

 

First item on the agenda was a Powerpoint presentation shown and commentated on by Ian Handricks in the unfortunate absence of Stef Billing. This whole meeting was at the instigation of Stef, a great idea Stef. Ian had also put a lot of hours into the Powerepoint which told us of the facts of the tragedy and Stef’s involvement. Stef was a 12 year old at the time and remembers the cyclone Giselle meeting a southerly Antarctic blast which peaked at 250 kph. Not only was the Wahine in distress but the whole of the Wellington region suffered considerable damage.
The Wahine was a Union Steamship vessel and had been sailing the Lyttelton/Wellington route since 1966. It could carry 1050 passengers plus 200 vehicles. On the fateful day it was carrying 610 passengers and a crew of 123. After leaving Lyttelton, with a weather forecast not anticipating the storm encountered by the vessel, Captain Robertson decided to try and enter Wellington harbour at 5.50 am. The vessel had done this before in heavy seas. Just after 6.00 am the radar system failed after the storm had intensified and the Captain tried to sail back out to sea. In now ferocious conditions the vessel was reversed onto Barretts Reef and lost a propeller and the tragedy escalated, orders to abandon ship being given at about 1.30 pm.


Despite all this happening close to Seatoun most of the passengers were swept over to the Eastbourne side of the harbour and this is where most of the 51 deaths occurred. Stef and his brother Chris had launched the Worser Bay Surf Lifesaving Club lifeboat and had managed to save a crew member.

March 2018

Guest Speaker: Garry Clark

Topic : Game Changers

 

Garry Clark was our Sunday speaker – as it turned out a lover of all things new in Technology and gadgets. Garry spoke about Game Changers such as modern batteries and in particular car batteries and the rapid development of their capacity to charge quickly and go the extra mile or in our case kilometre. The newest Samsung car battery will charge in 20 minutes and take you up to 600kms.
Garry does have an electric car and he charges it for 6 hours overnight at a cost of $2 or less and this will take him 150 – 200kms depending on how you drive and the terrain. There is an app that will pinpoint charging stations - the airport has a free service as do some commercial outlets. He advised that a slow charge is best for the unit. Seems that while conventional vehicles have 10,000 moving parts electric cars have only 20 moving parts – so much less to go wrong or wear out. His research suggests that before long we will be able to run our home power from a battery pack.


Garry went on to detail the background of the South African born Elon Musk the founder of eBay and Tesla car man and many other developments including the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket which was in the headlines in early March 2018. This little venture was created at a cost of $90 million USD. Even if the rocket taking off did not hit the high spots with you, the return and landing of two of the three booster rockets back at Cape Canaveral on their end and on X marks the spot was very impressive.

February 2018

Guest Speaker: Elaine Bracefield & Glen Plaistowe

Topic : Bio Science & Windows 10 Technology

 

Two very informative speakers kept our 60 odd – (well not actually odd) members intrigued on a wet and wild morning. Our first presentation was by Elaine Bracefield who is a Qualified Nutritionist and Biochemist, Glutathione and Cellular Health Expert and Certified SmartDNA Practitioner

While most nutritionists will factor for environment and lifestyle, Elaine also considers her client’s genetics and offers genetic testing to uncover the missing pieces behind why you may be struggling with your weight, energy levels, positivity and other and other important aspects of your health.

Elaine discussed the current cut, burn, poison (operation, radiation, chemotherapy) regime for treating ailments whereas she works in the area of identifying the cause, empowering the individual and rectifying before the person hits rock bottom. She deals with nutrition based on your genomic profile so it is a personal fit. While you cannot change your inherited genes you can change the mutations of those genes with the food that best fits your makeup. Think of food not just as calories but rather that it tells your DNA what to do.

After refreshments Glen Plaistowe journeyed us through a well created power point on Windows 10. As Glen explained it was not a case of teaching today but rather showing what it offered. She described Windows 10 as a service as opposed to a product which would now work across all of our devices. It has a predictive aspect known as continuing. In other words your device learns your habits and reacts accordingly.

January 2018

Guest Speaker: Ken Holmes & Ian Handricks

Topic : Various BitCoins & Crypto Currencies and Self Publishing

 

We had a three part presentation. Our guest speaker was Ken Holmes and Ken in conjunction with our own Ian Handricks collaborated on the first two subjects.
BitCoins and Crypto Currencies – a form of currency used for buying goods and services. Money was originally linked to precious metals such as silver and gold, usually gold, until President Nixon changed that. Now money is “printed” and issued by Governments. Bitcoins are a digital currency and are stored online in a “virtual wallet”.

Ken admitted he had long wanted to be a published author and he felt he had a story to tell and is well under way with the writing. Along with assistance from Ian he plans to publish his writings as an ebook with Kindle Direct Publishing. He illustrated the five steps needed:
1. Motivation – why do you want to write a book? For Ken it was to record some family history with comment on his brief Army career including a stint in Northern Ireland and a need to give something back.
2. Join a Writers’ Group – very helpful for advice
3. Review and Refine – essential fine tuning
4. Marketing – need to identify your target group
5. Publishing – can now do online, minimal set up costs

December 2017

Guest Speaker: Christmas Meeting

Topic : Various Speakers

 

At our Christmas Meeting Sunday, we had all the good things including lots of tinsel and Christmas ornamentation. First of all Fraser Day showed a collection of favourites from his own photo portfolio plus a selection from his “pupils”. The show was co-ordinated by Brian Wintle and we saw some beautiful images. The photography group has been orchestrated by Fraser for around 8 years and included “shooting outings” and show and tell and critique sessions. Fraser claims his team have advanced so much they no longer need his guidance as December was his last session. Rex Oddy is to take future sessions and he will have something to add from his own perspective I am sure. A presentation was made to Fraser with thanks from the Club.

A loooong morning tea with special items such as savoury sandwiches and rolls, Christmas cake, Christmas tarts, Cherie Bell’s famous muffins and cranberry specials plus strawberries, cherries and a carrot cake by Barbara Anderson - decorated for Fraser, so we had a cake cutting ceremony as well.
 

November 2017

Guest Speaker: Dawie Otto

Topic : Gmail

 

Our speaker was Otto Dawie who discussed Gmail and what it can do for you if you have a gmail account which is free and easy to obtain. Dawie mentioned how it reduced dependence on Microsoft and offered many similar programmes at no cost. This negated the need to purchase software updates and upgrades as Google constantly refresh their programmes. The Google Suite includes gmail, Google Maps, a Calendar, Google Drive for documents and photos, Google photos, Cloud storage (there is a limit to this before you pay) Docs (Word), Slides (Power Point), Forms (information collecting) Sheets (Excel equivalent) and Events. Plus some lesser used options. In the main, transitioning over your current records is a simple operation of drag and drop. Dawie continued on extolling the benefits of having a Google account and is prepared to take further sessions with a practical hands on approach.

October 2017

Guest Speaker: Nick Miskelly

Topic : The fine points of fibre broadband

 

Our speaker for the morning was Nick Miskelly from Chorus talking on the fine points of fibre broadband. Nick outlined the various aspects to help us decide if fibre is right for each individual but started with some interesting facts:


1862 First telephone line in New Zealand
1865 Electric Telegraph Department created
1877 First Telephone – apparently at Kaiapoi
1888 Post and Telegraph Department created
1987 Telephone Corporation of New Zealand deregulation – completed in 1989.
1990 Telecom NZ formed
2008 Chorus was part of Telecom
2011 Chorus became an individual entity


Estimated that the percentage of New Zealanders with UFB will increase to 87% by 2022. The old copper system was designed to transmit voice and much of the wiring has been in the ground for 100 years. It then needed to cope with sending data and in 1980 dial-up was introduced with broadband in 1999. By 2007 all the street cabinet wiring was upgraded with most cabinets connecting to about 500 consumers. Fibre has the ability to send multi signals at one time and the data throughput is massive. The introduction of Netflix in 2014 pushed up the demand with copper being unable to cope – especially with multiple home users – two people in house can double the download demand. Many homes have 6 or 7 devices.


Nick informed us that due to a lack of experienced installers their training programme has been extensive and is ongoing. He stated that until the commencement of the Waterview tunnel the UFB project was the largest project in New Zealand. New methods have speeded up installation as they no longer need to dig trenches. You can go to the Chorus website, insert your address and the site will state when broadband will be available at your address if required. If you are interested in proceeding with UFB you apply through your ISP. The correct procedure then is as follows: 1. A representative from Chorus will meet with you at your home and discuss what is involved – it is most important for you to be involved in the discussion and it will take approximately one hour.

September 2017

Guest Speaker: Brent Summers BSc 

Topic : Broadband options

 

Our Sunday speaker was Brent Summers BSc – introduced by Lois Kay. Attendance was good on a miserable day. It was pleasing to see Julie Green in attendance following her serious operation. The photo here shows Julie in happier times at our AGM. Doesn’t she look good? We had a lively and humorous two hours, believe it or not, about Broadband options (fibre or copper), Bandwidth, the Internet, email, the “Cloud”, providers, and Artificial Intelligence. Did you know that at 10Mb/s ADSL, a King James Bible (3MB) should take about 3 seconds to download? Have you got time to wait around for this?

July 2017

Guest Speakers: Ian Bonallack

Topic : Return of the Jedi

 

You will remember the very informative and useful Dumb Questions sessions run by Ian Bonallack. Well, we prevailed upon Ian to make a trip to Auckland to be our speaker at the July Sunday Meeting and to hold a question and answer Dumb Questions on the following Monday.


Ian moved to Wellington 18 months ago and he spent a few minutes telling us about the move and the differences between living in Auckland and living in Wellington. Wellington was a big drawcard as he has family there including two delightful grandchildren. He showed us photos of his new home and garden and of course the grandchildren. He then regaled us with his life as an Actor. Yes true – he had a part in a (Sir) Peter Jackson movie called Mortal Engines and there could be further productions. The hours were long with early starts, the makeup and costuming quite involved, the breakfasts were extensive, the coffee machine was excellent and overall it was a huge amount of fun.


Ian outlined the difference between our Club and the Kapiti SeniorNet where he now tutors. Kapiti is a much more structured environment where members turn up for classes, do the lessons and go home.

 

They do not have a Sunday Meeting. There is none of the convivial aspect that our club engenders and he misses the relationships he built up here. He emphasised how fortunate we are to have the interaction we do. For us it was a reminder of how much we miss Ian’s presence and the numbers attending proved this.

June 2017

Guest Speakers: Theunis Van Schalkwyk

Topic : “Moving Auckland Forward”

 

Theunis Van Schalkwyk has been in New Zealand for 10 years and his role is Group Manager, Strategic Projects for Auckland Transport. Under the title “Moving Auckland Forward” the challenge is the projected growth for the region. In 1991 Auckland had a population of 1 million and it was believed the city would grow by about 10,000 per year culminating in a population of 2 million by the 2060’s. From 2001 – 2003 there was a growth spurt and again in 2013 to 2016 with an increase of 121,000 in those past 3 years – growth in Auckland projected to be much faster than any other region in New Zealand. The 2 million mark is now estimated to be reached some 30 years sooner. This puts tremendous pressure on roading and housing and by 2024 we will need an additional 421,000 new homes which will impact enormously on transport.


Airport passenger growth is expected to be 20 million by 2020 and 40 million by 2044 with 9 new airlines into Auckland in 2016. Cruise ships now number over 100 per year and are much larger, carrying many more visitors. The big questions to answer are how to accommodate these increases with access to jobs, congested roads and a public transport system capable of coping.


Theunis reported that a strategic approach has now been agreed – with 4 billion being the funding shortfall!!!! Their main thrust is how to use technology to overcome these problems but they are also learning from other cities. There is major necessity for roading networks, motorways, tunnels and improved busways and hopefully the introduction of light rail. Light rail looked to be a very inviting alternative being quick, comfortable, smooth, easier to access than buses and efficient. Many of the planned large city buildings are designed allowing for underground rail links and new stations including at the Aotea Centre. Eventually a light rail service from Takapuna to the Airport is in the pipeline with Albany to Airport to follow and simplified zone fares will be implemented.


Within the next 10 years the busway to Albany will be improved and then it will extend to Orewa. How much of that will we see – well we shall see?

April 2017

Guest Speakers: Debbie Grace

Topic : Online Banking

 

Our first speaker Debbie Grace of WestPac Takapuna provided us with confidence in the use of Online Banking and discussed the security of payments by credit card online. Debbie assured us that banks are constantly upgrading their firewall security and have people employed full time in this capacity. WestPac have a Demo site which you can access as follows if you would like to experiment: 


It is possible to save statements, apply for loans and credit cards and WestPac now offer International Bank transfers as well as a myriad of other services such as pay and transfer options and the ability to download tax certificates. Debbie did recommend you advise your bank if you are going away as they monitor accounts for unusual activity and she emphasised only using public wireless that requires a password. In addition Debbie brought a wonderful home- made cake for our members.


March 2017

Guest Speakers: Brian Cudby & Bernice Hyde

Topic : Photo editing and photo books

 

A really wet day for our Sunday meeting 12 March but our members were not daunted by the rain. We had good attendance for a display of skills by our Tutors who illustrated some of the programmes available for learning at SeniorNet North Shore.


First up Brian Cudby, speaking in his best parade ground voice due to a hitch with the sound system, spoke of the various photo editing programmes available such as Picasa, Pixlr, Gimp and Photoshop Elements. The first three are free but you need to purchase software for Photoshop Elements although a trial version is available online. Brian showed us a group of before and after shots which were quite amazing and highlighted the worth of “fixing” your photos.


Gail Moore in her orderly and logical manner illustrated how to “control” all the photographs we have on our computers and how to set up folders in a methodical way so we can always find what we want without stress. A good lesson on “photo housekeeping”. Applies to all our data.


Bernice Hyde is our resident expert on photo books and recommended Harvey Norman for first time users and although they were the most expensive, they offer the best variety of styles and attributes. Bernice plans to take a session on creating a collage in Picasa for inclusion in a photo book.


The morning was rounded out with Barry Pinkney speaking about his much favoured ProShow Gold programme. Shots of the Tinakori Road area included some wonderful old homes accompanied by a lively rendition of Pineapple Rag. He illustrated fusion, which is the use of still and video clips, in his Butterfly Creek creation and finally the wonders of Easby Abbey in North Yorkshire.

February 2017

Guest Speakers: Dawie Otto and Shane Symons

Topic : improving the “patient experience”

 

After morning tea Dawie Otto and Shane Symons – both newly arrived from South Africa – gave us a clear run through on the iPhone versus the Android cellphone systems detailing the differences and answering a number of questions. There is more to come as Dawie and Shane are taking further sessions on phones and related topics such as Google Photos. Now here is a piece of information that was worth attending for if nothing else: They tell us there is available a WiFi Dongle that takes a sim card. So going Overseas? A great way to easily and economically set yourself up in foreign climes. Have a look at their website which is under development with our own Ian Handricks – iTeaspoon. Dawie is the IT Brewmaster and Shane the IT Barista. Have a look at the menu while there.

February 2017

Guest Speaker: Ravina Patel

Topic : improving the “patient experience”

 

Ravina Patel from the Waitemata District Health Board gave an insight into her role which is improving the “patient experience” when that patient is within the fold of the Hospital system. The ability to communicate effectively with a great diversity of those needing help and at the same time recognise the cultural differences of those people presents a huge challenge for the people at the coalface.


The Waitemata Board has a 1.6 billion dollar budget for the 2016/2017 year and employs 7,000 staff. The North Shore Hospital has 650 beds and Waitakere Hospital 250 beds plus there are some 30 community sites all of which need to be funded from that budget.


The IT Section is part of improving patient care and employs the use of e-systems such as iPad minis which are used to access information for prescribing as they are taken right to the bedside to assist in the administration of drugs and treatment. Patients are also encouraged to use their own iPads and devices to keep them in touch with news, family and friends. A well prepared and presented hour and our thanks to Ravina for her visit.

January 2017

Guest Speaker: Juliana Goodman

Topic : New Zealand Nutrition Foundation

 

Sunday the 8th of January we were treated to a very “positive” information session from Juliana Goodman from the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation. Juliana is well qualified (2 degrees in related subjects) to speak on nutrition and health and did so with enthusiasm and illustrated knowledge.


Juliana reminded us that, while long life is desirable, the quality of that life is also important and although we cannot alter our genetic heritage we can enhance the length and quality by sensible eating and exercising. She reinforced the importance of the main food groups that assist us: Vegetables, Fruit (both of which should be the bulk of our food intake) then breads and cereals (preferably wholegrain), milk and milk products (for calcium) and protein in the form of lean meat, seafood, eggs, nuts and legumes.


The importance of good hydration, (preferably water), three meals a day starting with a really good breakfast, good food safety habits, limited alcohol intake (note she did not say none) and as much physical activity as you can safely undertake. This could be walking, dancing, exercises or if these are not suitable for you then standing up and sitting down several times helps maintain muscle stability then a little resistance training by lifting a can of peas in each hand – before eating them. Don’t forget to utilise sunshine (ha ha) to get that Vitamin D you need to absorb the calcium into your bones. You need 15 – 30 minutes a day but remember outside the 10am to 4pm parameters for safety in summer and 10am to 2pm in winter.


Healthy eating does not need to be expensive eating but poor choice of food can lead to many problems including lack of energy. There is so much more that Juliana covered and the question and answer section was very popular.


Space does not allow further comment here but do go to the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation website for more detailed data and lots of good ideas and advice.

November 2016

Guest Speaker: Joy Frazer

Topic : The new revolution, “Science will shape human destiny as never before”

Sunday the 13th of November and 60 odd members (don’t mean the members were odd) were treated to insights into the “very recent” evolution of computers or main frames as the original machines were called as the word computer had not materialised back then, but also where technology was heading. The original machines progressed from vacuum tubes to transistors, then microchips.


Joy spoke about the difference between linear progress and exponential growth. She illustrated linear growth being the methodical relatively slow process of moving through phases 1 to 5 taking each step in turn but how now with exponential growth we were jumping from 1 to say 16 to 32 – so giant leaps in development.


The Industrial Revolution of the 1600’s and 1700’s brought people into factories and introduced new diseases. The advent of trains enabled movement over longer distances compared to horse travel and on through to artificial intelligence.


Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and populariser of science. He is a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York. Joy discussed how his predictions are very much on target and suggested his books were worth reading and very readable. Some available at the library.
Many of the early versions of new technology are initially beyond the reach of the ordinary person due to cost but over time become more competitively priced – just as the original Gutenberg Bibles were affordable only to the extremely rich. Likewise Nanotechnology has taken science to another level. One aspect that is holding back the move into more and more advanced technological changes is the need for new Laws – ostensibly to protect us all from the “educated stupids”. The world of our great grandchildren will be far removed from what we now know.

October 2016

Guest Speaker: Julia Bartlett

Topic : Computer-based Animation & Cartooning

 

Guest Speaker Julia Bartlett gave a very informative and clear speech on animation to the meeting. She showed us how computers could be used for animation using 2D and 3D examples. Julia used a graphics tablet that clips to your computer and enables you to draw images and make them move. The graphics tablet was a Bamboo brand and you can see these at Wacom.co on the net. Julia made the exercise look simple but it requires drawing and step by step stages throughout. She explained these stages very clearly to us with the use of a Powerpoint show and extended on examples from this by putting in the first and last drawings in a sequence into a computer. You then set it to go and the computer does the rest. Julia is prepared to take a lesson in our Learning Centre and show people how to do this, so look for a session by her in the November schedule.

September 2016

Guest Speaker: Acting Sergeant Kate Williams

Topic : Police Force Tools

 

We had an excellent meeting with two good speakers. On a bright, sunny, morning a bright sunny, police officer, Acting Sergeant Kate Williams, based at Glenfield, took us through the latest tools our wonderful New Zealand Police Force use to make the Force more efficient. When the original computer system was installed back in 1976 it was considered ground breaking but was actually a nightmare of a system to use. Now with their mobile devices, iPhones in the main, they can look up details on the street which cuts down the amount of paper work and makes for more efficient policing. The NZ Police have 14,000 mobile devices available to use and they can even dictate letters, load them into the system and they are issued as corrected and edited correspondence. She recommended that we record serial numbers on items purchased as with their data base and on the spot systems it is often possible to track down stolen items.

August 2016

January 01, 2020

Guest Speaker: Barbara Anderson

Topic : AGM

 

We have had a very eventful year on looking back. Perhaps the biggest event being the agreement we established with Ian Handricks on 18 July 2015. This was considered to be a win/win situation for both the club and Ian and I think it has turned out that way. Ian has continued his role as occasional Sunday Speaker, taken up tutoring, set up and continues to update our wonderful website, and acts as relief newsletter editor.

July 2016

Guest Speaker: Bill Rayner

Topic : Grey power

 

Bill Rayner the Chairman of North Shore Grey Power was our Sunday Speaker and provided an extremely informative and detailed account of the function of Grey Power and the influence he felt it had on Governments in improving circumstances for older people.

June 2016

Guest Speaker: Chelsea McIntyre

Topic : Bank Scams

 

Chelsea McIntyre from BNZ Bank gave a very informative presentation on scams, a modern swindle. The “big four” are phishing, phone fraud, Credit card fraud and skimming. It is believed that about 15% of the population have experienced one of these scams. Phishing is when a contact is made “fishing” for information that will help them swindle you.  Credit cards need to be kept secure by not letting anyone know your password and keeping you card save. There is an advantage of having a second card with limited credit for use online use. Before going overseas always let your bank know your dates away, countries going to so the bank can identify any unusual withdrawals.

May 2016

Guest Speakers: Natalie Cutler-Welsh & Ian Handricks

Topic : History and Workings of Social Media

 

Ian discussed the history and development of social media from its early beginnings in the BBS systems being used before the start of the internet through to the omnipresent Facebook and Twitter phenomena of today. Natalie, an ‘Impact Entrepreneur’, Author, Podcaster, Social Media, Business and Networking Coach and a mother of three, showed us how social media is having an impact on the world. She gave us an insight into the workings and integration of social media in business and answered our questions on security, data protection and generational uses of this
technology.

April 2016

Guest Speaker: Steve Davis 

Topics : The World of Connected Wearable Devices

 

We had a very successful meeting with full house attendance. Steve Davis, Noel Leeming Technical Installer, took us through the new world of connected wearable devices including Fitbit, Tom Tom and Apple watches which cost between $700 to $35,000. An item called Chrome Caste turns a TV into a Smart TV with a cost of $68.99. and Steve thought it a must buy.

March 2016

Guest Speaker: Bill Bennett

Topics : Computer Developments

 

Our Speaker was computer journalist Bill Bennett. In the first half he spoke of his early years in computing including brief meetings with Bill Gates and Tim Berners-Lee in England. In the second half he went on to tell us of his thoughts on the immediate future of computing and its various innovatory uses. Much of the real development has been the emergence of advanced software as opposed to the focus on hardware. Bill was asked about Internet Banking and felt the Banks had created a “quite safe” environment but did warn against using Free WiFi for that purpose.

February 2016

Guest Speakers: Councilor George Wood & Michael Upton 

Topics : The Greater Auckland Council and Fire Dangers

 

Auckland Councilor George Wood explained in detail about how the Greater Auckland Council came into being and went on to tell us how the different parts of the Auckland Council operate and how much or how little control, in the case of the Local Boards, they have over events. Our second speaker, Michael Upton, Waitemata Fire Safety Officer, caused some consternation amongst the attendees by parking his fire engine in our car park! It was a beauty, complete with bells and whistles. Certain ladies in the audience were quite taken with Michael and his team of three, they did look very young and very fit and remarkably slim. Michael gave us an excellent rundown of fire dangers in the home and how to avoid them. 

January 2016

Guest Speakers: Trevor Willmot & Ian Handricks

Topic : Automobile Technology

 

Trevor Willmot gave a lively presentation brimming over with all sorts of essentially mechanical information. He spoke of the paradigm shift due in the development of all things although his particular interest was motor vehicles. He believed that there would be more change in the next 5 years than we had experienced in the past 50 years. Trevor spoke of all the diagnostic devices available and was asked about the function of computers in vehicles. He advised they do thousands of calculations constantly to refine fuel usage and optimise the performance. They also recorded faults like an on board mechanic. 

December 2015

Guest Speakers: The Tutors

Topic : 2015 Achievements

 

Our final meeting of the year was very well attended and we all enjoyed a display of work by some of our talented groups. The members were greeted to a slide show of photos from Frazer Day’s digi-photo classes. Barry Pinkney arranged for no less than four pieces to be presented from his classes. Genealogy had a piece by Stewart Rundle and also had an attractive and informative presentation of members’ work and finds at the rear of the hall including PhotoBooks from Bernice Hyde.

November 2015

Guest Speakers: Richard Bose & Alan Edwards

Topics : Mainframe to Micros & Retirement

 

Richard Bose detailed the evolution of computers from Mainframe to Micros. This was a fascinating ride from the humble beginnings of huge main frame Univac computers which in retrospect held very little capacity to the current micro systems that can handle multitudes more bits and bites in one very small unit. Our second speaker was Alan Edwards, CEO of Metlifecare who gave us a lively insight into his early life, personal development and subsequent role all of which he described as a lead into “retirement”, in that, from the day we are born we are headed for retirement. 

October 2015

Guest Speakers: Bjorn Binzegger & Brian Wintle 

Topics : AgePlus & Iceland

 

Our first speaker was Bjorn Binzegger of AgePlus Charitable Trust who brought along a number of items that are helpful in making our lives easier particularly if you have a “hindrance” of some kind. One that intrigued us the most was the wine glass that does not fall over. Our second speaker was Brian Wintle who told us something of his trip to Iceland. The photo to the left was taken by Brian in Iceland.

September 2015

Guest Speaker: Ian Handricks

Topic : Contemplating Cartography

 

An interesting and informative journey into the world of maps, map-making and computers. Learn all about Google Earth and Google Maps, discover how Street View was created and how you can use this in your genealogy endeavours … and much, much more. Ian will show you how to get the hang of on-line maps, street plans, terrain and relief maps … even how to explore maps of the ocean floor and terrestrial bodies! You will learn how computer mapping is used in everything from metrology to air travel applications. This will be a practical, fun and exciting jaunt into a wealth of visual and very useful knowledge … stuff that has a real and practical use in our day-to-day lives.